General Moonshine Creek Campground North Carolina Special Places Workamping

Family Visits, Elk and Chimney Rock

Mom Johnson flew in to Charlotte, NC to spend a week with us in September. While she was here we went to see the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. The library is modeled after a dairy farm like the one where Billy was raised. It is full of the life stories of Billy Graham and this is also where Billy and his wife, Ruth, are buried.  I love the inscription on Ruth’s tombstone: “End of Construction – thank you for your patience.”  Ruth has long been one of my personal heroes. She was the daughter of missionaries, raised in China, a wife, mom, author and poet who wrote and beautifully expressed her faith in words and through her life.

Mark, Mom and I were excited to see a pre-screening of Downton Abbey the Movie in Asheville while she was here! We all enjoyed it.

We were able to show Mom many of the places we love. Driving along the Blue Ridge  Parkway, we stopped at the Waterrock Knob overlook. While visiting Lake Junaluska we saw an eagle. Another day, in Maggie Valley, we ate some ice cream then in Bryson City we had a picnic and hiked to some waterfalls. Downtown Waynesville was having an antique car show on the day we went there. We stopped in to Mast General Store and Jack the Dipper Ice Cream in Waynesville as well.

Mom took us to Clyde’s for breakfast before we delivered her back to the Charlotte Airport. She returned to Oklahoma with a Moonshine Creek t-shirt and lots of Moonshine Creek/ Western North Carolina experiences and memories!

It’s nice to have some family only 2 hours away from us here in NC. We made a quick visit to Hickory in early October to visit Aunt Karolyn and Uncle Jim Voelbel and the Wachter Clan. It was a treat to experience Kades Coffee first hand and see Adri at work making delicious coffee creations! Mark took a dip in the lake at the Voelbels’ and Aunt Karolyn and Uncle Jim hosted a dinner gathering at their house. We were able to see everyone before we head to Florida next month.  On our way home we swung by the Hickory Chick-fil-A to say hello and good bye to David Luke – till we return next April!

One of the signs of this fall season in Western North Carolina is the bugling elk as they are in rut now. We traveled to Cataloochee Valley to see some elk in their natural surroundings. The drive there was a little nerve wracking as Mark skillfully navigated some steep, narrow, curvy, gravel roads to get to the prize. We did ultimately get to see a large male elk bugling (a loud call to announce his presence to any receptive females in the area) and we saw 2 cows (female elk) and a calf in the woods.

On another day we decided to take a drive to the Chimney Rock/ Lake Lure area. The town of Chimney Rock is a great place to browse gift shops, grab a bite to eat and you can also view the Chimney Rock itself . If you just want a beautiful short trail to walk, there is a Riverwalk located along the river behind the shops. We chose not to pay $17 each to walk the stairs to the top of Chimney Rock.

It seems like we are right on the verge of experiencing a colorful fall in the Great Smoky Mountains.  A few trees are turning but we have yet to see the BIG show of color on the mountainsides.   We remain hopeful although many say the recent dry spell means there won’t be much to see. We’ll keep you posted on the season’s progress.

Our next post will be recapping the last 5 months. Our first experience as workampers has set the bar pretty high! We’ll recap and also fill you in on our upcoming plans soon.

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